USA Immigration Process

9

File a Petition
United States citizens and Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) of the U.S. who wish to begin the process of immigrating a family member(s) to join them in the U.S. should file an I-130 petition with the nearest office of the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) in the United States. American citizens residing in Mexico may file petitions at the USCIS office in Mexico that has jurisdiction over their place of residence.

USCIS offices are located at the Embassy in Mexico City and at the Consulates General in Ciudad Juarez and Monterrey. LPRs must always file petitions in the United States.

Once the petition has been approved by USCIS, the petition is sent to the National Visa Center (NVC). NVC processes all approved immigrant visa petitions after they are received from USCIS, and retains them until the cases are ready for adjudication by a consular officer. Petitions may remain at NVC for several months or years depending on the visa category.

When an applicant’s case is about to become current  (i.e., the appointment is likely to be available within the year), NVC will coordinate with the applicant regarding the submission of all civil documents, police clearances, affidavits of support, and other key documents. Therefore, it is of the utmost importance to keep NVC updated as to the most current contact information for both the applicant and the petitioner. They can be reached at NVCinquiry@state.gov.

Both the applicant and the petitioner must respond to the NVC mailings before the case is forwarded to the Consulate General in Ciudad Juarez, where all immigrant visas for Mexico are processed. If the priority date (the date the petition was filed) is not current, the NVC will keep the approved petition on file until the priority date is reached. Once the case is forwarded to the Consulate, the applicant will receive notification of his or her appointment date and time.

The Consulate will mail the applicant an appointment letter with instructions. Review Immigrant Visa Forms for more information and to access the forms necessary for the visa interview.

Assemble Documents and Return Visa Forms
It is the applicant and/or the petitioner’s responsibility to gather and complete the documentation needed for the visa. All documents must be current. Any expired documents may delay the processing of the visa. You must bring all documentation with you to your interview at the Consulate.

Biographic Data questionnaire (DS-260) Applicants must fill out and submit the form online. Print the confirmation page and bring this page to your interview. Please note: Cases with no NVC Invoice number may enter the applicant’s date of birth in the following format – YYYYMMDD- as a substitute invoice number.Original and photocopy of petitioner’s long form birth certificate (not an abstract) and applicant’s birth certificate. Applicants with non-English or non-Spanish birth certificates must submit a notarized translation with the original and a photocopy.

Original and photocopy of applicant’s marriage certificate (if applicable).
Original and photocopy of proof of termination of all previous marriages of both the applicant and petitioner (if applicable).
A signed original of Form I-864 Affidavit of Support from the petitioner and any joint sponsor/s, as well as supporting documentation that proves the individual offering to support the applicant earns the amount of money indicated on the affidavit (proof of legal status in the U.S., job letter, most recent tax forms, and recent pay slips).
I-797 petition approval notice (optional).
Any type of previously issued U.S. non-immigrant visa (for example: tourist visa, border crossing card, student visa, etc.)
Valid Mexican passport issued by the Mexican Secretariat of Foreign Relations (S.R.E.) or a Mexican Consulate in the U.S.
Two recent color passport-sized photographs.

3. The Visa Interview Appointment
Once the National Visa Center (NVC) has received all the documents necessary to complete the visa application, NVC will send the applicant a letter with the time and date of the visa interview.  All documents the applicant collected in Step 2 will be needed for the visa interview.
Applicants must attend their scheduled appointment at the Applicant Service Center PRIOR to their consular interview appointment.
Visa interviews are conducted on weekdays Monday through Friday during regular business hours, with the exception of U.S. and Mexican holidays as well as two rotating administrative days per month.

On the day of the interview, applicants must bring their appointment letter issued by NVC or the Consulate.  If you do not, you will be turned away.
While the Consulate strives to process all applicants within an hour of their appointment time, unforeseen circumstances may keep you in the Consulate longer. Additionally, it is sometimes necessary for applicants to have interviews over two or more days if there is a question concerning their application or they are missing documents. Please do not purchase a plane ticket or make travel arrangements to go to the U.S. for the same day as your visa interview.

Make Your Appointments
You must have an appointment at the Applicant Service Center and an appointment for your consular interview.
Go to the Applicant Service Center and follow the directions for making an appointment

4. The Medical Examination
The Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) requires that all immigrant visa applicants and certain non-immigrant visa applicants (including K visa applicants), regardless of age, undergo a medical examination before receiving a visa. All applicants who are required to submit to a medical exam must receive the exam from one of the three approved medical clinics prior to the visa interview.

We suggest you make arrangements for your medical examination at least one or two days prior to your visa interview date. Applicants ages two (2) years to fourteen (14) years of age must undergo the medical examination at least four (4) work days prior to their visa interview date. It is recommended that children within this age range be immunized at least four (4) weeks prior to their medical examination.
In some cases, the clinics will send the medical results to the Consulate for inclusion in your application. If you are given your medical exam to carry to the Consulate DO NOT open the sealed envelope. If you open the medical exam, you will be required to schedule and pay for  a new medical exam.

Special note about TB testing
If you are found to have TB, you will be subject to additional testing, which will take six weeks. You will not be allowed to attend your scheduled appointment. You will receive further instructions from the Medical clinic staff at the time of your initial medical examination.
When the medical clinic receives the results of your additional testing you will be contacted and can either reschedule your visa appointment or you will receive further instructions on receiving treatment.

During the medical exam, it is important to give complete and honest answers to all of the questions asked by the clinic staff. If, during the course of your visa interview, the Consulate discovers you left out or misrepresented medical information, you will have to schedule and pay for a new medical exam.

On the day of your interview, all visa applicants first report to the “Sala de Servicios Migratorios Muncipal” located in the Embassy Plaza Shopping Center on the north side of the Consulate compound. Please do not arrive at the Municipal Waiting Area more than 30 minutes before your scheduled appointment. Your place in line will not be determined by the order you arrive. It is not necessary to arrive in the pre-dawn hours to get in line.

Please bring originals of all your documents to your visa interview. Applicants must also bring the appointment letter issued by NVC or the Consulate. If you do not, you will be turned away.

The following people may accompany the visa applicant during his or her visit to the consulate:
Interpreters – an applicant may bring one interpreter if he or she does not speak English or Spanish well enough to participate unassisted in the visa interview

Special Needs Visitors – Applicants may bring one person to help if they are elderly, disabled or if the applicant is a minor child applying for a visa.
If you have a medical or other condition requiring a wheelchair or a special accommodation, please alert the greeters/guards to your needs as you enter the building.

Due to the limited size of our waiting room, the high volume of visa applicants and the time required screening consular clients, other accompanying persons cannot and will not be admitted to the Consulate. Drivers, friends, extra relatives and others not specifically named above cannot be permitted to enter and will be asked to wait to meet the applicant at the Sala de Servicios Migratorios Municipal, located next to the Consulate to meet the applicant after the interview is completed.  Attorneys will NOT be permitted to accompany anyone into the waiting room or to the interview.

Dress appropriately for the interview and for the weather. Much of the Consulate waiting area is outside the building where there is no heat or air conditioning. You will not be allowed to bring in food or drink.  Snacks and beverages are available for sale in the outside waiting area.
To enter the compound, all persons must go through an airport-security type of screening. Click to see the list of items that are prohibited in the Consulate. The Consulate does not provide lockers or storage bins for personal items. Any person refusing to comply with all security screening procedures will be denied entry into the compound.

Once you are allowed into the Consulate, you will be given a ticket number that you will need throughout the interview process as you go from the cashier, to the final check of documents, and to the actual interview.  Your ticket number and which window to go to will flash on one of several screens in the waiting areas. Please pay attention to these screens.

  Occasionally we may have to call you by name.  If you miss your number or name, the next applicant will be called and your wait will be longer. At each window and during the interview, it is important you answer each question honestly and provide as much information as you can.  If you do not provide honest answers, your visa may be denied or you may be rescheduled for another day.  DO NOT attempt to conceal or give inaccurate information.

NOTE: Any fees for visa services are collected only inside the medical clinics or within the Consulate.   Neither the medical clinics nor the Consulate collect fees outside – do not pay any fees except at the cashier inside the clinics or Consulate.  Individuals in Plaza Nicole, local hotels or other locations do not work for the Consulate or medical clinics.  For accurate information about your visa case, Consulate staff are available to answer your questions at the windows at the Consulate security entrance.
6.The Visa Adjudication

If your visa is approved, you will not receive a letter or any document at the interview, instead, you will receive your packet at the previously selected DHL courier office.  If you have not selected an office yet, please access: http://mexico.usvisa-info.com to choose a DHL courier office location where you would like to receive your visa. For delivery questions, please contact the DHL courier service directly at cdj.courier.passback@ascmexico.com.

After the interview, original personal records, such as birth certificates or marriage certificates, will be only returned if requested and only if the applicant brings additional copies to the interview.
If you are found to be ineligible for a visa, you will be given a refusal letter with the specific reason(s) why you were ineligible. If there is a waiver available for the ineligibility, you will be given instructions on how to apply for a waiver. Not all visa ineligibilities have a waiver. Click for more information about the waiver process.

Sometimes, additional administrative processing of your visa application is needed. This additional processing can delay the final adjudication of the application. In these cases, the consular officer will explain the situation and you will be given a letter with instructions on how to proceed.
Sometimes an officer will request additional documents, in this case you will receive a letter from the officer at the end of the interview outlining which documents are required and how to send them to the Consulate for review.

Sometimes, your medical exam may not be ready in time for your visa interview. If your medical exam is not ready, the consular officer will put your case on hold until your medical exam is received. In some cases, the clinic may give the results to you to send to the Consulate directly via DHL. Do NOT open the sealed packet or you will need to retake the exam.

After you Receive Visa
You will receive your visa and a sealed packet from the courier service. Your visa will be affixed inside your Mexican passport. You must carefully read the information contained both on the visa itself and in the cover letter stapled to the sealed packet. Make sure this information is correct; if it is not, contact the Consulate immediately.

Do Not Open The Sealed Visa Packet. You Must Carry It Unopened To An Immigration Officer At A Port-Of-Entry.
Once you have received your immigrant visa, please note the expiration date. You must enter the United States within the timeframe specified on the visa to obtain a legal permanent resident (LPR) or “green” card (Form I-151 or I-551) that will allow you to live and work in the United States.
You may enter the United States through any Port of Entry. However, if you have a medical “Class B TB” annotation on your visa,  and you plan to enter through El Paso, you must enter via the Cordova bridge. You will receive specific instructions with your visa.

At the port-of-entry, a U.S. Customs and Border Protection official will stamp your passport and make a notation that you are registered for a long-term permanent resident (LPR) card. You will have an opportunity at the port-of-entry to confirm the mailing address where you would like to receive your LPR card.

NEW LPR card fee
Any individual who on or after February 1, 2013 receives an immigrant visa package from a U.S. consulate or embassy abroad (including Canada and Mexico) will pay the USCIS Immigrant Fee for the LPR card production.

For more information please visit the USCIS website
It may take several months for U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to process and send the LPR card to you. In the interim, the passport stamp, valid for 6 months, permits employment and travel as you await your LPR card.  You may depart and return to the U.S. before you receive your LPR card, as long as the stamp in your passport has not expired. Should the stamp expire and you have still not received your LPR card, you should contact USCIS in the U.S. before departure to obtain permission to return to the U.S.

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